Android N preview is now available, here’s what the new OS brings with it

Igor Bonifacic

March 9, 2016 2:18pm

Well, this is unexpected. Google is launching the developer preview of Android today.

Typically, Google waits until its I/O developer conference to seed a preview of its new mobile operating system to developers. However, according to a Medium post from Hiroshi Lochheimer, the Google executive who has overseen the development of Android for the past number of years, the company wanted to do things differently this year.

“By releasing the first preview and asking for your feedback now (in March!), we’ll be able to act on that feedback while still being able to hand off the final N release to device makers this summer, so they can get their hands on the latest version of Android earlier than ever,” he says in the post.

Android N 2
Moreover, thanks to the launch of the Android Beta Program, for the first time ever anyone with a Nexus device can try out the new OS via an over-the-air update. Obviously, Google warns N isn’t ready for consumer use just yet, and the update isn’t available on all of the company’s own devices  — notably, the Nexus 5 isn’t supported.

So, what can you expect to get with Android N?

The most significant change is the addition of a split-screen multi-tasking mode. Available on both smartphones and tablets running Android N, the feature will allow users to use two apps on the same screen. They’ll also be able to view videos while in a separate app using a new picture-in-picture mode.

Google is also tweaking how notifications work. Once Android N launches and developers update their apps to take advantage of the OS’s new notification API, users will be able to do more with a notification than simply swiping it away or jumping into the app that sent it. Messaging apps, for instance, will allow users to respond to a message directly from a notification card. The OS will also bundle certain notifications together into one card.

The new OS also adds a number of performance tweaks to Android. Google has tweaked Marshmallow’s battery saving Doze feature to save energy whenever your device’s screen is turned off, instead of just when a device is stationary. Moving forward, Android will also support Java 8.

More details about the update can be found on the Google developer website.

  • TP

    ‘Messaging apps, for instance, will allow users to respond to a message directly from a notification card. ‘ Deja vu? Mobilesyrup reported this on April 30th 2015, and my family (who uses Google’s Messenger app) has been doing it all the time.

    • Claude Gohier

      Currently, the Messenger app opens an overlay for quick reply. In Android N, the quick reply is directly in the notification shade.

    • Jo

      You want to know the funniest thing about that? Blackberry 10 has been doing it since its second major update. lol

    • Abu Taalib

      Yep, I can be doing anything on my phone and when a message comes in I can reply from whatever i’m doing without leaving the screen or task at hand. I miss Blackberry 10 already. Most productive work phone i have ever used.

    • Sunny Lee

      …But you can do that in Android using the Messenger app.
      But at least now it’ll work for all messaging apps in Android (hopefully), not just text messages.

    • Jo

      I know, but the Blackberry system was a bit better. Still, can’t wait to see that!

    • Jo

      I do miss it too, mostly for the keyboard, but it was being so terrible in the end….

  • AndroidRootGuy

    Wow .. nice. Waiting for the binaries to flash on Nexus 5x…

  • Eddie_Brock

    Android is quickly running out of letters in the Alphabet for their OS!

    • Roger

      They still have another decade, give or take depending on the term between each version.

    • FlamesFan89

      And beyond that, is there any reason they can’t just restart the alphabet?

    • Can’t Fix Stupid

      That would literally blow my mind.

  • Jeff Thibert

    Doesn’t Marshmellow already have split screen? It works on my Galaxy S2.

    • AMB_07

      It’s a feature that’s been on Samsung phones for years but now the default Android OS is getting it which means all Android devices running this version will have that feature.

  • Brad Fortin

    Good to see Android finally catching up on some features and advancing in others.

  • Gumbopudding

    Too bad things like doze just can’t be updated on its own. It the only feature that sounds interesting to me.

  • jay

    N like?????

    • Kickside01


    • Lukeiphone

      “Nasty”…as Trump would say it.

  • wildting2

    Android Nutbar (because Nutella is horribly overrated) :p

    • JTon

      I’m partial to Android Nougat